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Corpus Christi cracks down on party house rentals

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Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
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File Photo: Several thousand people crowded the beaches of Port Aransas Saturday during the first weekend businesses were allowed to reopen at limited capacity in 2020.

Some San Antonians may head to Corpus Christi for one more summer beach trip this Labor Day weekend.

While the City of Corpus Christi welcomes tourists and the dollars they bring, it has started enforcement of a recently approved, short-term rental ordinance to crackdown on party houses on Mustang and Padre Islands.

The ordinance targets properties rented for less than 30 consecutive days. Those are the ones often used by out-of-towners to throw rowdy beach parties.

Short-term rental operators must now obtain a permit and display the permit number in all property ads, including those on social media. The ordinance is designed to make it easier for code enforcement officers to monitor those advertised properties for trouble and to follow up on neighborhood complaints.

Padre Island resident Matthew Protceller told the city council earlier this summer the quality of life in neighborhoods is at stake. The former Marine said he could handle fishing cigarette butts and beer cans out of the canal after parties, but there are other problems, too.

"Hearing profanities roll into my bedroom at 2 o'clock in the morning as people are out there partying, listening to loud music, that's less appropriate."

Other residents of the islands applauded the council's move this summer, urging them to not let neighborhoods be monetized or treated like commodities.

The Corpus Christi Association of Realtors opposed efforts by the council that would limit the ability of residents to earn income from properties.

Elke Gonzalez, the CEO of the Corpus Christi Association of Realtors, spoke out against the ordinance during an appearance before the city council earlier this summer.

"The Corpus Christi Association of Realtors...along with Texas realtors and the National Association of Realtors is against city ordinances that arbitrarily infringe on the basic right of the individual to acquire, possess, and fairly transfer real property and shall protect private property rights as referred to in the 5th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution," Gonzalez told the council.

"Private property rights include the right to gain income from property and the right to rent out property on a short-term basis."

One realtor told the city council that short-term rentals harm long term neighborhood property values.

Fines up to $500 will be imposed for advertising or operating a short-term rental without a permit.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian